December
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Best Countries To Visit In December

Planning A Trip In December? Here's our list of best countries to visit in December
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The crescendo month of the whole year, December world over has been a month of celebration since time immemorial. Even before the birth of Christ. Why? Because this month marks the winter solstice or the shortest day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and longest in the Southern. The day, for its geographical importance and for the fact that it is the coldest and gloomiest, has been given highest religious importance in many religions, including Christianity and Judaism. Celebrating festivals makes this month happier even in the cover of dark, ice and lots of cold.

 

World over today, December means insane sales, discounts on almost everything because people are buying for the upcoming festivals, vacations, holiday cards and mainly, Christmas and New Year. Some of the best countries to visit during this festive month of December are the USA (especially New York and Vegas for New Year’s Eve), Czech Republic (for its fairy tale Christmas in Prague), Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand; as well as Dubai, Hong Kong and Malaysia for amazing shopping!

Maldives

Maldives:  Best Countries To Visit In December
Photograph by https://www.malloryontravel.com

Think cool winds billowing white sands, and an azure sea rumbling softly in your ears. That is what Maldives is, especially in December. This collection of ring-shaped atolls and islands is breathtaking as well as perfectly cool for your December beach holiday. First half of December will see some rain here but cross the mid-mark, and you have dry, cool sunny days with Christmas and New Year parties on the horizon. With 13 rainy days and average temperature of 27°C in December, Maldives is perfect for swimming, water sports like snorkelling and diving, beach relaxation and honeymooning couples of course.

 

Things to Do:

Male, the capital of Maldives is the pulsing heart of this nation, throbbing with touristy energy, from National Museum to Grand Friday Mosque, beaches to markets to fish markets and more. This is also the most populous island here and boasts of good night life. Meera Island near Male is another great beach retreat if you are into ultramarine coloured lagoons, bright corals and white sands. If you want to explore water sports, head to Biyadhoo Island while Kaafu Aroll is for plush, luxurious resorts managed by the Taj Group of India. There is also the Alimatha Island, Banana Reef, and Raa Atoll. Raa Atoll especially is famous for its glowing waters because of phytoplanktons. This bioluminescence gives this island a special status in Maldives. You can take the Dhoni Cruise or the Whale Submarine to explore the waters of Maldives. 

 

How to Reach:

Malé International Airport is the major airport in Maldives. Prime Indian cities viz a viz Mumbai, Chennai, Kochi, Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore etc are connected to Male. Jet, Air India, Indigo, Spice Jet and Sri Lankan Airlines are the major players on these routes. You can also take the sea route and board one of the cruise ships leaving from Mumbai or Kochi for the islands of Maldives. Costa neoClassica is one of the most famous cruises that offers a journey of 3 nights to Maldives from Kochi and 7 nights from Mumbai.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka:  Best Countries To Visit In December
Photograph by http://www.matthewwilliams-ellis.com

The quintessential tropical destination with deep historic routes, Sri Lanka is the fabled golden city of Raavan, one of the best tea-growers of the world and lately, a coveted tourist attraction on the atlas. Because of its uneven landscape and unique positioning, Sri Lanka observes four different seasons due to changes in the intensity of rain, which means, monsoon is perpetually just there. But December sees relatively low rainfall, with a 30ºC average high and 22ºC average low. 10 days of rain is quite a good bet if you get it with 12 hours of daylight and great opportunities for sightseeing. 

 

Things to Do:

Sri Lanka is known for its tea gardens and fragrant tea shops, so start with those tea-tours in Ceylon and Nuwara Eliya. You can also try your hand at surfing and kite surfing at places like Midigama, Mirissa, Weligama Beach and Hikkaduwa. Since this is a relatively dry season, take your trekking shoes and go hike up Adam’s Peak, Ella Rock and Horton Plains. For a temple run across the monasteries and temples here, check out the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy and Dambulla Cave Temple. For wildlife love, head to Udawalawe or Yala National Parks to see elephants and leopards among other animals. You can also tour some strongholds of Sri Lankan power like the Sigiriya Fortress, Galle Fort and Star Fort near Colombo. Finally, for the coveted New Year’s Eve, head to the capital city of Colombo and celebrate at one of the top lounges - Ozo Colombo, Floor by O or Sky Lounge. 

 

How to Reach: 

Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport is the main International airport of Sri Lanka and receives regular flights from Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kochi etc. Sri Lankan Airlines is the major flight service but also Jet and Air India are as good on this route. You can also take the water route and board one of the cruise ships leaving Mumbai. This is a more expensive option though and usually takes a week to reach. Internally in Sri Lanka, you can use tuk-tuks, buses, trains, flights or hire cars for commute. Rail routes are rather picturesque.

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Czech Republic

Czech Republic:  Best Countries To Visit In December
Photograph by https://www.pragueexperience.com

A cold landlocked country in the middle of Europe, what could Czech Republic offer you say? It is the BEST Christmas destination in all the world, we say. The country is known for its deep rooted threads of history, architecture and culture in renaissance and gothic times. But it is also one of the most beautiful European countries with cobbled paths and curved foot-bridges over rivers. December in Czech Republic is cold, almost down to day lows of 1°C and day highs of 3°C, with nights going below freezing point. And yet it attracts tourists from all over the world for Prague’s Christmas markets, twinkling lights, and the euphoria that is palpable in its Old Town Square.

 

Things to Do: 

If you are in Czech Republic during December, it is obvious that you are here for its Christmas. And Prague does this festival like no other. The capital city is captivating and charming, with snow layered cobbled roads, streams and streams of endless fairy lights and Christmas night markets selling everything from cakes to spiced hot ale, silk scarves to robes, souvenirs to antiques. Visit the Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square, Peace Square and the famous Christmas Market at Prague Castle. Christmas Eve is celebrated with much love here, with Christmas trees decorated in apples, sweets and ornaments. There is also the PetÅ™ín Lookout Tower, Letná Park, Charles Bridge and Prague Clock Tower for you to explore. Other tourist places to visit in Czech Republic are the Adrspach-Teplice Rocks in Bohemia, Cesky Krumlov Castle, Hluboka Castle, Jewish Museum and the Moravian Gallery in Brno.

 

How to Reach:

The Václav Havel Airport Prague is only 20 km away from the city centre. It receives regular stop-over flights from Indian cities like Delhi, Bangalore Mumbai and Hyderabad. Fin Air, Lufthansa, Aeroflot, Air India, Austrian Airways etc ply on these routes. You can also drive into Prague from other neighbouring European cities or use the train.

USA

USA:  Best Countries To Visit In December
Photograph by https://www.technobuffalo.com

The free world, the greatest democracy, Uncle Sam - the United States of America is a lot of things and need to introduction as such, except that it is a jolly large country and a mix of varied landscapes. In December, you are sure to be here for a quintessential New York New Year’s Eve or some wild nights ringing in the next year in Las Vegas. Even though this is the thick of winter in most states here, the snow, small days and minimal daylight don't desist people from flocking for a holiday. The shopping is as much joy her with maddening discounts right before Christmas in almost all stores and brands here. So what are you waiting for? Christmas and New Year is just round the corner!

 

Things to Do:

USA is a pretty large country to cover in one trip, with most people covering either the East Coast or the West Coast at once. You can craft your own itinerary though. Some of the best places for December and holiday festivities are the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the National Mall in Washington DC, Walt Disney World (Florida), Universal Studios of Hollywood, Hollywood itself in California and Rock Canyon in Nevada. Two best places to spend your New Year’s Eve are the big apple (New York) and Vegas. 

 

While New York’s Times Square and the famed ‘Ball Drop’ at the stroke of midnight is a ritual coveted world over (thanks to movies like ‘New Year’s Eve’), you can also spend the night at Brooklyns’s Coney Island or Prospect Park with fireworks covering the inky night sky, Bronx (Italian style welcome to the New Year with dinner) or even Queens’ Resorts World Casino (only for those above 21 years of age) in NY. Some famous sights in New York are Central Park, Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. If you want a wild New Year and are ready to party your socks off, then head to Vegas. Showbiz, the MGM Grand and other line of hotels and casinos will ensure a crazy maddening New Year’s for you. The Vegas Strip is closed for vehicles so pedestrians come alive with festivities. You can even book a carriage on High Roller Ferris Wheel to see the midnight fireworks or climb on the Stratosphere Tower. 

 

How to Reach:

America has a lot of states, a lot of cities in those states, almost each with its own airport. When travelling from India, you have the option of major airports like the JFK of New York City or Newark Airport, Miami - Florida or Washington DC on the East Coast. For West Coast, there are cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle with their respective designated airports. Numerous connecting and direct flights ply from Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Amritsar etc and carriers like Air India, Jet, Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa ply these routes.

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New Zealand

New Zealand:  Best Countries To Visit In December
Photograph by https://www.radionz.co.nz

The island country of kiwis, New Zealand is a beautiful paradise in the southwest Pacific Ocean, filled with volcanoes and glaciers. Being a country in the southern hemisphere, NZ is warm during December as opposed to most countries in this list thus far. It is the beginning of summer here, with temperatures anywhere between 20-30°C. December is also characterised by 'Santa Parades’ in almost all towns starting way back in November. With carols and fairy-lights, Christmas is a warm jolly affair in New Zealand. 

 

Things to Do:

Some of the most coveted tourist cities of NZ are Auckland, Gisborne, Wellington and Christchurch. Their Christmas and New Year’s Eve make for precious memorabilia as you get to soak in the native festive spirit with Santas dressed in sandals and rugby shirts, live musical festivals, light shows and fireworks. New Zealand’s capital Wellington is home to the national museum (Te Papa Tongarewa) and great scenic beauty. Auckland flaunts its city scrapers with pride and Queenstown is known for adventure. You can go bungee jumping at Kawarau Bridge, cruise at Milford, do wine tastings at Amisfield Bistro and Cellar Door, as well as visit Lake Wakatipu and Lake Wanaka. Head to Tamaki Maori Village in Rotorua to know more about the aboriginal tribes of this country, check out the Wai-O-Tapu (a Thermal Wonderland). You can also visit Bay Islands and swim with the dolphins, fly planes at Abel Tasman and trek up the Fox Glacier. 

 

How to Reach:

Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad ply regular stop-over flights to New Zealand, with stops in either Singapore or Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok. The majority of these flights arrive in Auckland which is New Zealand’s largest city. You can catch a connecting domestic flight to any other city of New Zealand from here. The cruise option is also available if you want to spend more and use the waterways. Mostly the cruises depart from Australia and journey the Pacific to reach New Zealand.

Australia

Australia:  Best Countries To Visit In December
Photograph by https://www.tripsavvy.com

December in Australia is basically the beginning of summer. A proper, beach summer for most tourist attractions here. With warm sunny days and a temperature of around 20°C, the summer emits great holiday vibes in this ‘Land down under.’ While you can indulge in water sports and beach bonanza, there is also the unique opportunity to spend your Christmas and New Year on a beach, warm and sandy. Sydney, especially, hosts one of the top 10 Unique Christmases of the world, with a New Year that fills the sky above Sydney harbour with fireworks.

 

Things to Do: 

Spend a beach Christmas sipping beers and dancing with Santas in swim wear. Australia is known for these shenanigans after all! Sydney’s Bondi Beach is one go-to spot, as is the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour. Other tourist attractions in Australia include uber cities like Melbourne, Perth, Gold Coast, Queensland and Brisbane. Take snorkelling and diving lessons for your tryst at the Great Barrier Reef, explore corals and marine life like never before, take a drive down the Great Ocean Road and also don’t forget to see the ‘Twelve Apostles.’ There is the Sea World and Warner Bros Movie World to cater to your childish whims for amusement and Hunter Valley to satiate your cravings for wine and wine-related tasting events. Head to Philip Island and Whitsunday Islands to spend another fun-filled weekend. Also famous for wildlife enthusiasts is the Murramarang National Park, Lucky Bay and Kangaroo Park; which are home to kangaroos. 

 

How to Reach:

Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne house some of the prime International Airports of Australia. You can find regular, direct as well as connecting flights from Indian cities (Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai) to Australia. Cruises from New Zealand are also renowned but make for higher expenses and longer time to reach. You won’t find any rail connectivity from outside Australia as it is a continent, but the country has a well laid-out rail network internally.

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Thailand

Thailand:  Best Countries To Visit In December
Photograph by https://www.thai2siam.com

Thailand is renowned world over for its Thai cuisine, sultry beaches, breathtaking islands and, massages. Its capital Bangkok is the ultimate shopping destination for one and sundry and also doubles up as an amazing Christmas and New Year holiday spot. In the month of December, Thailand experiences its coldest weather of 26°C day average with only 40mm rainfall. Its night markets bloom to make way for fairy lights and holiday mood of Christmas, as do the many beaches like Pataya, Phi Phi, Krabi and Phuket. The tourist season is almost coming to its peak with such fanfare here in December.

 

Things to Do:

Bangkok regularly features on Asia’s best night crawl cities and hence makes for one hell of a new year destination. The Central World Plaza makes for a great Asian ‘Times Square’ and attracts just too much crowd and revelry before the stroke of midnight. Other great things to do in Bangkok are the weekend Chatuchak market, nightmarket-hopping, malls, and roadside food stalls. Try temple tours in Thailand, from the Emerald Buddha Temple to Wat Arun to Wat Pho. Also visit the Grand Palace, Elephant Nature Park, Phang Nga Bay and Tiger Temple. For islands and beach fun, you should try Phuket District in Phuket, Krabi (recently popped up as a perfect night crawl on the party-mongers’ map), Phi Phi Islands, Patong and Ko Samui. Also, do take time out to see a bit of the rustic, old tribal Thailand through the northern parts like Akha, Lisu and Karen. New Year’s Eve will be smashing on any of the the famous beaches of Phuket, Krabi or Phi Phi too. 

 

How to Reach: 

Indians love Bangkok for shopping, and that is a fact. Hence there are very frequent flights connecting India to Bangkok. The Suvarnabhumi International Airport and Don Mueang International Airport of Bangkok receive direct flights from Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai daily. You can also drive up to Thailand from India using the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway, starting at Manipur. Internally in Thailand, you can use tuk-tuks, metros (for Bangkok), hired bikes and cycles as well as taxis for commute.

Dubai

Dubai:  Best Countries To Visit In December
Photograph by https://www.uaet10.com

Dubai is the dream of shoppers and business people alike, the city that rises to the sky, quite literally. This is especially a paradise for those who are coming here for New Year’s Eve as the ultra cool vibe of the place is enough to bring you a unique experience. December in Dubai is usually quite cool, with temperature wavering between 23-27°C. Since Christmas is around the corner and it is the holiday season, expect some great discounts on everything SHOPPING and also be ready to get blown away by lights and magnificence of Dubai, especially the Burj Khalifa.

 

Things to Do:

New Year ushering at Burj Khalifa is expansive and beautiful, with people coming to its footsteps to welcome the next year with fireworks and countdown. Burj Plaza not far away is also a hot spot, this one mostly for families. You can also catch a tour to the top of Burj Khalifa, the highest building in the world on any other day, dine in one of its super fancy restaurants or just enjoy the light and sound of the Dubai Fountain show right beside it. Shopaholics, it's holiday and discount season as major International brands decide to slack prizes. Hence head to Dubai Mall and raid the goodies. Other coveted tourist things here include a trip to the Palm Jumeirah island, Dubai Creek, Kite Beach, JBR beach and the famous Dubai Marina for yatch rides. For desert safari, head to the Arabian Desert and try your hand at sand-boarding and quad biking along with delicious barbecues and camel rides on sand dunes. 

 

How to Reach:

The Dubai International Airport of Dubai is the busiest of UAE and is connected with Indian cities like Mumbai, Jaipur, Goa, Delhi etc. Frequent and direct flights by Air India, Emirates, Lufthansa, Jet Airways and Etihad ply along these routes. You can also take the road route from one of the other UAE cities like coaches from Abu Dhabi or Ajmah. Driving by yourself will only be possible from Oman. To commute in Dubai, we suggest you just take full advantage of the awesome metro. There are cars also on hire for those who want something personal.

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Bhutan

Bhutan:  Best Countries To Visit In December
Photograph by https://ridingtheelephant.wordpress.com

Bhutan is a peaceful land of mountains and monks, home to Buddhist Monasteries and trekking bases. Once upon a time, it is said, this land was torn by war and so much blood was shed that it became impossible to live on this land. It took a few centuries and a lot of mediation by monks to bring Bhutan to such peace again that it considered its Happiness Quotient above its GDP. In December, this country sees a tranquil winter with blue skies stretched across mountains. This is definitely the best time to visit the western parts of Bhutan like Thimphu, Paro, Punakha and Wangdue among others.

 

Things to Do:

Paro is one of the best places to visit in December here, so start with the Paro Taktsang Monastery or the Tiger’s Nest. The Paro valley is also home to splendid views, hiking routes and lovely flora and fauna on the way up. For trekking there is Snowman Trek, Nabji Korphu Trek, Jomolhari and Druk Path Trek. You can also go rock-climbing in Thimphu and river rafting in Po Chu river. There are hot springs in this country that make winter all the more lovely, like Gasa Tshachus, Gelephu Tshachu etc. Go bird watching at Bumthang, Trongsa, Bomdeling, Phobjikha Valley and Punakha. In fact, one of the chief attractions of December is the black-necked cranes in Phobjikha (Gangtey) that come down from the Tibetan Plateaus for the winter. It goes without saying that you can opt to meditate at one of the monasteries or enrol for a guided meditation session from your hotel. Most of them also offer spas, massages and other yoga classes along with meditation; and each comes with its own charm. 

 

How to Reach:

Paro International Airport of Bhutan is the major international airport in this country. You can fly in here from many Indian cities, namely Kolkata, New Delhi, Guwahati and Bagdora directly. One stop flights are available from Mumbai, Bangalore and Kochi too. Having no direct rail connection between the two countries, you can take a train to New Jalpaiguri or Bagdora Station and then cross the border by road in a cab.

Malaysia

Malaysia:  Best Countries To Visit In December
Photograph by https://www.travelhouseuk.co.uk

Home to one of the most stunning ‘futuristic’ cities of the world, Malaysia is a perfect December getaway for its cool temperatures, long beautiful days and lots of exciting touristy stuff to do. This is another place where you can celebrate New Year on a beach and chill with the stars once all the hysteria has ended and the world has slipped into the next year. December is characterised by an average temperature of 27°C and a flock of tourists in the country come to celebrate Christmas as well as New Year. From sightseeing to water sports, beach parties to shopping, you have it all covered in this festive month.

 

Things to Do:

Kuala Lumpur is a stunning city full of skyscrapers and metro trains, sky-high bridges and expansive view of the mountains in the distance. Visit Petronas, the tall man-made marvel, go shopping to the many malls and treat yourself to yummy street food as well as gourmet restaurant meals. Langkawi is a stunning beach getaway for all water babies out there. Visit the Langkawi Square, sunbathe on beaches, indulge in water sports and chill. There is also the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, where you will enjoy some great safaris. If you are the kind that gets excited by history or someone mentioning the term ‘long ago…’ you must check out the ancient town of Malacca for its gorgeous homes, buildings, streets and architecture that is a legacy of the Portuguese colonisers who lived here for a long time. For New Year’s Eve, some of the best spots are found in Kuala Lumpur and include KLCC Park (you will witness some amazing fireworks), Changkat Bukit Bintang (a more mellowed ushering), Merdeka Square and the Curve Shopping Mall (performances by local bands and dancers).

 

How to Reach:

Kuala Lumpur International Airport becomes your landing spot when flying in from a foreign country. Malaysian Airlines, Jet Airways, and Sri Lankan Airlines fly regularly from India to Malaysia. You can also drive from Singapore to Malaysia with your travel papers and documents to cross the border. Internally, you can use Malaysian railways or KTM for domestic rail travel; as well as buses and hired cars.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong:  Best Countries To Visit In December
Photograph by https://traveltriangle.com

The shopping and business playground of enthusiasts all around the world, Hong Kong is also one of the most coveted cities on the list of most travellers and tourists. An autonomous district in China, Hong Kong is a place that comes alive with almost electric vibes, those regularly seen in some of the biggest cities in the world like New York, London, Mumbai and Tokyo. During the month of December, instead of slowing down, the city picks up a new merry holiday tune and is stringed with fairy lights, lit hoardings and screens everywhere. New Year’s Eve here is celebrated with lots of dancing and partying in some of the most plush night clubs and lounges, followed by massive fireworks that hit the skyline. 

 

Things to Do: 

It’s the holiday season and you are in Hong Kong! Shopping should be your topmost priority with never-ending malls and streets, namely the Hong Kong’s Ladies’ Market, the Temple Street Night Market, Cat Street and Apliu Street Market. From clothes and shoes, brands to antiques and gadgets, you will find some of the best stuff here. Budget shoppers must go to Causeway Bay.

 

Sightseeing here includes Happy Valley Racecourse, Victoria Peak, Big Buddha, Man Mo Temple and Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery. Hop to the Repulse Bay, Stanley, Shek O beach or Tai Long Wan for some beach fun. You can also charter junk boats and sail them if you are a freak seeking adrenaline. There is also the amazing hike up the Dragon’s Back for adventure. Ocean Park Hong Kong and Disneyland make for some great amusement parks. Disneyland, especially is marvellous during Christmas, with the red and white theme enveloping all the characters and cartoons and rides, almost making a wonderland out of it. You can also enjoy New Year’s in Hong at Victoria Harbour with fireworks and music. People also gather at Star Ferry Pier for theatre, dance and circus performances.

 

How to Reach:

Hong Kong’s International airport in Chek Lap Kok is 31 km away from the city centre. Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore ply daily flights to Hong Kong with aircraft carriers like Emirates, Jet Airways, Air India and British Airways. Bullet trains from China also travel to Hong Kong, along with  buses from Guangdong or Beijing. Turbojets and boats also ply from Macau to Hong Kong.

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